Christmas Lights the way


We hang them with hope
To illuminate these nights
Christmas lights the way

How do Christmas lights not bring out the child-like wonder in you? And a smile that reveals someone lost in the memory of Christmases past. Inspiring you to keep traditions passed down from your parents. Motivated to start new traditions. This Christmas, challenge yourself to go beyond yourself and share that light. Be an example for your children. You can volunteer at the local food bank or the children’s hospital. We can have real hope because Jesus, the Light of the world chose to reach out to us.

Thankful


I am grateful for hot water
that helps me start my day
and for my hot toast
with PB and gelée

A cozy bed and warm sheets
that help me rest and relax
and a job with a salary
to pay my bills and that tax

My wife and my kids
who love me for who I am
and my family and friends
and pals on FB and Instagram

Thanks to the One who never sleeps
Who helps me fix my mess
and puts solid ground under my feet
I am #blessed

Happy Thanksgiving everyone!

Aging Well

John proudly has his birthday on his chest when he surfs, 2-2-30. He’s aging with style. I am considerably younger, but am I aging well? I want to. Do you? Are you? I’m sure there’s more, but there are questions to ask because I want to enjoy my family as long as I can. I know you do too.

Question #1. How long can I go eating like crap? Recently, I chose not to anymore. When the doctor said I have to go on medication indefinitely I realized changes have to be made. I believe his analogy was something like, “You wouldn’t put soda in the fuel tank of your car because it wouldn’t run right.” I got the picture.

Question #2. How do I play? That play should lean more on doing something instead of sitting and being entertained. I remember the last time my wife and I binge-watched a TV drama on Netflix. It was a great series, but I got seriously tired for weeks. Apparently, the folks back before cars were tempted to stay sedentary as well. Thomas Jefferson was quoted as saying, “Walking is the best possible exercise. Habituate yourself to walk very far.”

Question #3. Who am I sharing life with? The person missing in this picture was John’s son. John was 80-something surfing with his 60-something son! Life was not meant to surf alone. Make time with family and friends as much as possible. I read somewhere that pets help too.

Living with purpose changes everything. We weren’t put on this earth to just take up space. Why live that way? We all have a calling to do something for the Creator who knows us personally and I’m 100% sure it will benefit this world. Discovering what that something is make sense of all the do’s and do not’s and turns them into what you want to get out of life. It makes the “good” food taste better. It makes the hard work not feel so hard. It makes playing a lot more fun. It makes our relationships with our family and friends sweeter.

That’s the short list. Thanks for reading it. Do you have anything to add to it?

The Paths We Take

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“You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own,
and you know what you know.
And you are the only one who’ll decide where you’ll go.”~Dr. Seuss

Why do we spend so much time and energy trying to avoid the hills and valleys of life?  Here are a few of my thoughts on the paths we choose in life:

  • Regardless of your theology, you are never alone. Why even try to do life by yourself? It is way more interesting to walk this journey with others.
  • Speaking of theology; I’d rather trust in the One who knows more than me for directions.
  • Have a destination because that’s your goal. What makes you is the journey.
  • Walk with purpose in every step. They count whether they were wasted or not and you can’t take them back.
  • Swallow your pride and change your course at any of point of the journey if you realize you were going the wrong way.
  • Don’t avoid paths just because they are too challenging or risk pain. No pain. No gain.
  • Enjoy it.

What would you add to the list?

“You have brains in your head.
You have feet in your shoes.
You can steer yourself any direction you choose.
You’re on your own,
and you know what you know.
And you are the only one who’ll decide where you’ll go.”

Thank you Dr. Seuss.

Life getting you down? Here are things to look at.

img_0564An encouragement to you if you are in a storm of your life or even battling depression. Here are some things you can “look at.”

Look at your watch. Trials are temporary. Sometimes, you even have a say-so in how long the trial will last. Storms don’t last forever. They end at some point.

Look at the bigger picture. It is way too easy to have your head caught up in the crisis or trouble. Take a step back if you have to have a bigger perspective. That helps you thoughtfully respond instead of reacting out of emotion.

Look around for others. You are not alone. You were never meant to do life alone. As much as you would could claim that your situation is unique, most likely a family member or a friend has gone through something like your situation and can provide a listening ear or encouragement.

Look up. The first opportunity that you have, go outside. View the expanse of the sky. Feel the breeze on your face, Listen for signs of life even if it’s a car driving by. Your sigh can be one of relief instead of despair. Remember that there is God who sees you and knows you by name.

If you’ve never done this before, lift your hands towards Heaven and open up your hands and ask God to take the heaviness that you are under. If you have never asked God to help you, then ask. If your challenges have a name or names, like names of kids, say their names verbally. God knows them.

Allow yourself the chance to be surprised. The result may not be an instant miracle. However, when you are the one who changes in the midst of the storm, then the win lasts way after the storm is done.

Respect the Lord. His blessing includes your family.

A verse and a short commentary before I do my churchy duties.
I found this verse to share at a baby dedication yesterday,
“How joyful are those who fear the LORD-
all who follow his ways!
You will enjoy the fruit of your labor.
How joyful and prosperous you will be!
Your wife will be like a fruitful grapevine,
flourishing within your home.
Your children will be like vigorous young olive trees
as they sit around your table.
That is the LORD’s blessing
for those who fear him.” ~Psalm 128:1-4

God is worthy of respect and reverence. He is after all God. However, he is a God who always looks to bless. Think of the blessings in this short passage you just read: joyful, prosperous, fruitful, vigorous. I love that part of the family. Wife and grapes? That’s a win. Children around my table like healthy trees? That’s another win. I encourage you to look to engage with God like this and be ready for Him to bless you and your family.

Remember the Cross

One of my pastors preached a simple yet powerful message at church this weekend about remembering the cross. Jesus claimed to be God in the flesh and foretold that because he loved us, he would have to sacrifice himself on a cross for the sins of the world. Then he did just that. For those who believe that Jesus came back to life and choose to wholeheartedly follow him, they are free from their past and can move forward in life into eternity with God.
As a husband, father, son, brother, co-worker, friend, or whatever roles you have in relationship with others, it is too easy to live with guilt of all the failures in the life and all the damage that resulted. That doesn’t have to be the case. If you believe in the message of the cross then remember that today is a new day, forgiven and free from being trapped by the past. Walk forward with God like when you first believed. If you don’t believe in the message of the cross, then carefully examine why you don’t. It is the very thing that matters most in this life and the one after.

2 Questions to ask God

Earlier this week, I was writing a lesson for elementary-aged children for chapel time at a local school and thought of Paul’s 2 questions he asked Jesus after Jesus intercepted him on his way to Damscus to oppress the followers of Christ. Paul asked, “Who are you?” and “What do you want me to do?” (Acts 9:5-6)

Aren’t those the two questions we all have to ask?

A new morning means new mercy


The Book of Lamentations 3:22-23 says, “… His mercies never stop. They are new every morning…” (NCV)

A few times during the week, I’ll get up before dawn to surf with a few friends. When I get a moment I take a picture of the sunrise.  I’ll keep doing this to remind myself to keep thanking and trusting in God even as this world keeps getting darker. One more morning means more mercy-filled day to live out. Ray, Rich, and Dave, thanks for being my surf homies. Have a great weekend everyone.